Coronavirus Testing in Schools and Parental Consent.
Parental consent is still needed, just like with any medical intervention.
Consent has published a template letter for parents wishing to decline
Mass testing is not supported by evidence and not recommended by the World Health Organisation, the UK’s national screening committee, MHRA or SAGE
Or copy & paste & adapt this text below
I am writing to inform you that I do not give my consent for (XXX) to have the SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow or PCR tests. I would like to share important reasons why I am not consenting.
I do appreciate that this has been presented as an important way of reducing transmission of Covid in schools and I support these aims. I would like to reassure you that if (XXX) did become symptomatic, we would inform you immediately and not attend school.
The rationale for mass testing in schools, however, is not backed by evidence. Asymptomatic spread in children isn’t clear to start with and the tests are highly unreliable. For example, the Liverpool pilot showed that the lateral flow tests missed half of Covid 19 cases otherwise picked up by PCR. I’m also concerned that the MHRA, UK National screening Committee, WHO or SAGE have not endorsed mass screening of asymptomatic persons. Professor Allyson Pollock, Clinical Professor of Public Health has called for mass testing to be scrapped.
I am therefore considering the impact this intervention will have on my family and the potential risk, even if rare, to XXX’s health.
There are risks with any test. PCR tests require a swab deep into the nasal cavity with a potential to harm the olfactory bulb that helps with sense of smell. Furthermore, several UK contracts of Covid tests have had to be recalled due to either contamination with Covid or because they were not sterile. Repeating these tests regularly, in the way schools are required, increases any potential risk, even though the jury is still out for lateral flow tests.
Both tests are meant for testing people with symptoms. Once millions of asymptomatic children get tested at random, most positive cases become false positives, which means our whole family will have to isolate unnecessarily. For reasons of mental health and financial strain, our family will not be able to sustain another full isolation lockdown.
Although young people over the age of 16 can apparently self-consent, it is not usual practice for Gillick competence to be applied to experimental procedures. According to Prof. Deeks, leader of the Cochrane Collaboration’s covid-19 test evaluation, the lateral flow tests are being used off label, that is, for a purpose they weren’t designed or approved for.
Even if I, as a parent, or an older student by themselves, consented to the tests, it is hard to see how this could be valid in law, seeing that such consent has to be given freely, without pressure or undue influence, and after receiving all relevant information.
Many thanks indeed for considering my points and noting our non-consent for XXX.
References and further information:
I am writing to inform you that I do not give my consent for (XXX) to have the SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow or PCR tests without further information.
I am not aware of good evidence for mass asymptomatic testing in schools, so please share with me anything to the contrary.
Could you also assure me that there is no risk of harm, either due to injury or contamination, or else let me have any relevant information?